Deep Impact Coverage: Impactor Away!

Deep Impact successfully deployed its impactor spacecraft early this morning on a one-way trip to destruction by Comet Tempel 1. The flyby spacecraft then burned its engines to take it out of the path of the oncoming comet before turning around and snapped the above image of the impactor spacecraft drifting away as it sparkled in sunlight. The course change will allow Deep Impact to record images of the impact and its aftermath.

Mission controllers confirmed that the both spacecraft are successfully transmitting data. A near real-time viewer has gone up on NASA’s Deep Impact website to display images from the two vessels. Impact should occur tonight at 10:52 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet. His first published poem, "Roadside Freak Show," arrives on August 21, 2017 in Impossible Archetype.  His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (, on Goodreads (richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).